For many of us, the current Covid restrictions have meant a change to our travel plans and more people than ever are opting for a British staycation. Coupled with potential lack of boarding at kennels and catteries, many are considering a holiday with their pet. Take a look at our advice on travelling with your pet.
Our guide to UK pet travel
Leaving your pet behind when you go away can be hard, so many owners choose to take their pet with them. This is usually just the case for dogs, as it’s a lot harder to take a cat away with you, not least because you shouldn’t let them out in new areas for a couple of weeks – so they’d have to stay inside.
If you do decide to take your dog away with you, it’s worth spending a bit of extra time considering their needs over the holiday. Our advice should help to make the trip as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
We recommend that you avoid taking your dog on holiday if you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time with them. Leaving any dog alone in an unfamiliar place for long periods of time can cause them stress and anxiety.
Plan with your pet in mind
Make sure your holiday accommodation and destination are pet-friendly, with lots of suitable activities. Most hotel booking sites allow you to search specifically for pet-friendly accommodation, and many UK campsites also allow dogs as long as they’re kept on a lead. If you plan to hire a car, don’t forget to double check the hire company’s pet policy.
Most people travel for their UK holiday by car and it’s the easiest option for owners wanting to take their pet with them.
It’s important to ensure that your dog is able to travel comfortably and safely. The Highway Code states that pets should be suitably restrained so they can’t distract you while driving, or cause injury to you or themselves if you stop suddenly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are your best options for keeping them safe and secure in the car.
Dog’s deal with long car journeys on an individual basis; some are happy to fall asleep while others can become agitated and car sick, but there are lots of ways to help them be as comfortable as possible:
- Pack a large water bottle (five litres minimum for long journeys) to keep your pet hydrated. It can also be used to immediately cool them down if they start to overheat.
- During bright, warm weather, put sun shades on the windows to keep your pets cool, and keep the air conditioning on. Remember, never leave them alone in a hot car.
- Avoid feeding your pet within two hours of starting a long car journey to prevent car sickness. If your dog doesn’t travel well, you should speak to your vet about suitable travel sickness medication and other preventative measures.
- Bring a favourite toy or blanket to help calm your pet and give them a sense of security.
- Take regular pit stops to allow for toilet breaks and to let them stretch their legs. If you are travelling with a cat, you should invest in a travel litter tray to take with them. Remember, to keep them secured with a harness at all times.
- If your pet is in the front passenger seat, remember to switch off the passenger seat airbag to avoid injury.
- If your dog isn’t used to car travel, it’s a good idea to try and fit in a few ‘practice runs’ ahead of your holiday.
Pack a few of your dog’s favourite toys and a blanket to help them relax and give them a sense of security. If possible, try and bring their usual bedding to ensure they get a good night’s sleep, and don’t forget things like collars and dog leads.
Holiday routines are always going to be different. Try and settle your dog into a temporary routine as quickly as possible.
Find a local vet
Remember to take note of where your local vet is once you’ve arrived at your destination, and find out if they offer a 24-hour service in case of an emergency.
Don’t forget to pack or have access to these must-haves when travelling with your pet:
- Favourite toy
- Food and treats
- Grooming accessories
- Waste bags, or litter tray and litter
- Collar and lead
- Food and water bowls
- Pet Insurance policy documents and certificate
- A note of their microchip number
- Your vets contact details and details of your nearest vet
If your pet’s staying at home...
If you’re not able to take your pet on holiday with you, it’s a good idea to start finding a way of ensuring they can be well looked after while you’re away. It will make all the difference to your holiday if you can relax knowing they are safe and well.
A trusted friend or family member can work for the short term, but for longer holidays you may want to consider hiring a pet sitter or booking your pet into a kennel or cattery.
If you opt for a pet sitter, it can be hard to find someone you trust, particularly if they’ll have access to your home.
Your vet can help you plan for your travels with your pet.